Trevor Harris thrilled to be back with Riders after recovering from potential career-ending injury

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Trevor Harris is thrilled to be back in training camp with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and feels ready to write the next chapter of his career coming off a disastrous leg injury he sustained early last season.

“You wonder if you’re ever going to get to play again,” Harris told the media in Saskatoon. “It’s seriously like, ‘Oh my goodness, maybe that was the last snap I’ll ever take.’ As time went on, I started realizing, ‘I think I want to continue to do this’ and was glad that there was mutual interest in bringing me back here. I’m just really, really thankful.”

The 37-year-old suffered a tibial plateau fracture during Saskatchewan’s 33-31 loss to the Calgary Stampeders on July 15 when he was tackled on a rare quarterback scramble. An opposing defensive lineman rolled awkwardly onto his leg from behind and Harris was carted to the locker room after receiving attention from the training staff.

Harris researched the injury after receiving his diagnosis and described the possibility of making a full recovery as a “coin flip.” He underwent surgery mere days after the injury took place, yet the veteran passer didn’t feel back to 100 percent until February.

Injury rehabilitation isn’t a process with which Harris is overly familiar. Aside from a shoulder injury he sustained with Edmonton in 2019, he’s remained healthy for virtually his entire 11-year CFL career. The native of Waldo, Ohio acknowledged Dr. Chantale Lussier, his mental performance coach, and team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jared Buchko for their roles in helping him complete the long, daunting process.

“(Buchko) was like, ‘Just know that the mental side of this is going to be tougher than physical,'” said Harris. “The fact that he was able to tell me that was able to get me through those times where it was tough moments, just not letting them stretch into tough hours. And if it was a tough hour, not letting it stretch into a tough day, just kind of stopping those things in their tracks.”

Harris was thrilled with the first day of training camp as the Riders made sweeping changes this past off-season after missing the playoffs for the second straight year with a 6-12 record. Corey Mace was hired as the team’s head coach, while Regina native Marc Mueller was brought over from the Calgary Stampeders to serve as their offensive coordinator.

“It felt amazing, the energy was different,” said Harris. “I feel like the optimism is genuine, it’s a genuine excitement. The flow of the offence is truly incredible. I love this offence, it feels natural. And Coach Mueller, I think he’s going to be a rising star in the coaching world. We’re lucky to have him guiding us.”

Harris went 3-2 as a starter during his first season in Riderville, completing 66.2 percent of his passes for 1,274 yards, six touchdowns, and four interceptions. He also carried the ball nine times for 94 yards.

In a new system and upgraded talent around him, including running back A.J. Ouellette and right tackle Jermarcus Hardrick, Harris will surely be looking to improve on those numbers come the start of the regular season.

“We’re coming off two 6-12 seasons and we’re pretty ticked off heading into the season,” said Harris. “We’re ready to rock.”

The Riders will open their preseason on Monday, May 20 at Mosaic Stadium against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.